Can Saudi Arabia's deserts be turned into forests, and where are Expo 2020 Dubai's plants coming from? Desert Group's Michael Mascarenhas reveals details in this video. Plants have to be “treated with love and respect”, as Mascarenhas, chief executive officer of the Dubai-based landscape design and maintenance firm, tells Construction Week

In this exclusive and wide ranging interview, the Desert Group chief discusses the challenge of choosing plants that are appropriate for Middle East, the group’s nursery dedicated to native plants, and his plans to bring Desert’s capabilities to Saudi Arabia, a country where he would like to see the firm “penetrate and conquer”.

Some visitors to Saudi, he adds, may be “unpleasantly surprised” at the lack of greenery there. This is through no fault of their own, he stipulates, but only that the expertise “didn’t exist there” – a point here elaborates further on at 04:33.

READ: CEO of Dubai's Desert Group outlines Saudi Arabia expansion plans

Desert Group is already a stable name in the UAE, designing and landscaping green and water assets across the country, while also growing its own biological assets in its own through its range of nurseries. Its project portfolio includes work for top names such as Dubai World Trade Centre, Emaar, Nakheel and Jumeirah International.

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